Reflecting upon the movement to reform financial aid drug policies, which have denied 100,000 students aid since 1998, my mind can't help but dwell on that simple, sad, undeniable fact: drug laws put good people in prison.
The government and the media has gone to great lengths to demonize drugs of any kind, and portray users as fiendish criminals, junkies, and deviants of the worst kind.
The fact of the matter is, as we all know, drugs are everywhere. Mailmen, policemen, politicians, teachers, people of all professions and all walks of life indulge in all varieties of illicit substances.
There are few in the country who can honestly and with a straight face tell you that the war on drugs is anything but a joke. Simple economics tells you that all the war on drugs has really accomplished is to make the big-time smugglers even richer.
Supply and demand. The concept of the war is to wipe out drugs. But since they can't make significant dent in the supply, whatever feeble busts they do manage only serves to raise the street price, providing more profit-incentive for smugglers, more crime, as feening addicts steal VCRs for a fix, more people go to jail, and the cycle continues.
As long as they make arrests, they claim progress, but the cycle will never end at the rate it's going. The truth is, if everyone who smoked marijuana alone was arrested and imprisoned, not only are there not enough prisons in the country to contain them, there's not enough money in the budget to build enough prisons to contain them.
Drugs are more widespread then any politician either realizes, or is willing to admit in public. The stigma of "drugs equals crime" is so engrained into American minds, that any politician who appears soft on drugs is almost certainly doomed.
"Say no to drugs!" has been burned into every schoolchild's head since the '80s, and everyone else's, for that matter. This wildly successful propaganda has all the while managed to demonize anyone convicted of a drug offense.
The government could be taxing the hell out of it like cigarettes, diverting drug money from murderous smugglers and gangsters to legitimate businesses, regulating it, of course, not unlike alcohol.
But instead, it prefers to stick to a firm regimen of building prisons and cramming in as many Americans as possible, with no end in sight.
Many drug users/abusers are criminals, gang bangers, and bad people. Many others, however, are good, hard-working Americans, who are open minded enough to question the sacred word of the DARE program, and experiment perhaps just once with an illicit substance before finding themselves in a cell.
Here's some food for thought; I asked a police 911-dispatcher how many of her domestic violence calls, cop code for a husband beating his wife, turned out to involve alcohol. She said conservatively 90 percent.
I asked her how many husbands were getting stoned and abusing their spouses. She couldn't think of one.
Drugs are here to stay. They're not going anywhere, and more and more perfectly nice, respectable people are going to prison every day. The bad guys are getting richer, $19 billion have been wasted.
If this is a war, we should surrender.